Snowmass History: Michael Askins’ Ranch, 1894

Aspen Historical Society
A photograph of a housing subdivision at the Melton Ranch at Snowmass, circa 1970.Taken by Dick Moebius.
Aspen Historical Society/courtesy photo

“For Rent: A well cultivated, well watered ranch on Brush Creek, M. Askins’ ranch. Inquire of M. Madden,” announced The Aspen Times on May 31, 1894.

While ranching was not an easy task, many moved to the area in hopes to make a living off the land. In 1895, Michael Askins filed for a land patent through the Homestead Act, which was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862, and encouraged western migration by providing settlers 160 acres of public land. In exchange, homesteaders paid a small filing fee and were required to complete five years of continuous residence before receiving ownership of the land.

The county road known as Sinclair Road ran through the Askins ranch from Brush Creek to Snowmass Creek. The area is now known as the Melton Ranch, as it was purchased by the Meltons in 1938 from Tom Kerns. The subdivision was developed in the 1960s.